First quarter shows drop in credit card debt, rise in other debt

A recent study found both good news and bad news regarding Americans' debt for the first quarter of this year. The good news is that credit card debt fell by almost 3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Overall household debt, however, increased by almost 1 percent. Those households that carried debt owed, on average, $1,200.

One credit expert says that this first quarter drop in credit card debt is not a unique phenomenon, although it is a bit higher than the 2 percent average drop in each of the past 13 years. He attributes it to factors such as people receiving year-end bonuses as well as common New Year's resolutions to pay down debt.

As for the types of debt that saw an increase in Q1 2016 over Q4 2015, those include:

-- A 1.87 percent increase in mortgage debt-- A 1.69 percent increase in student loan debt-- A .87 percent increase in auto loan debt

Of course, each person's and household's debt situation is unique. However, credit card debt can get out of control all too easily. Many people think that they are staying on top of it by paying the minimum balance each month. However, that can lead to high interest rates and fees that soon eclipse the amount originally owed.

If you and your family are overwhelmed by credit card or other debt, you should determine what your options are sooner rather than later. An Arizona bankruptcy attorney can help you do that, even if bankruptcy doesn't wind up being your ultimate solution.

Source: NerdWallet, "Household Debt Ticked Upward at Start of 2016, but Credit Card Balances Fell," Erin El Issa, July 01, 2016

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